Home General Interest Selby swing bridge will be static in high temperatures

Selby swing bridge will be static in high temperatures

Due to the hot weather predicted for Wednesday and Thursday 24/25 June 2020, Network Rail issued a statement that the Grade II-listed railway swing bridge in Selby will not be swung on those days.

Instead, the bridge will remain in the railway position. This is necessary as hot weather can impact on the operation of the bridge.

Steel rails in direct sunshine can be as much as 20°C hotter than air temperature and they naturally expand as they get hotter. If this happens on the bridge, it means that the rails cannot line back up properly, meaning the bridge can’t close again if it has already opened to waterway traffic. This would mean disruption to rail services on the route between York, Selby and Hull.

In 2014, Network Rail invested £14 million to improve the bridge and make it more reliable. The work included track upgrades, repairing steel work and improvements to the hydraulics and were the most significant improvements made to the bridge since its construction.

Repair work taking place to Selby bridge in 2014.

Chris Gee, head of operations for Network Rail’s North and East Route, said: “This has been a difficult decision and not one which we take lightly as we know this is a much loved and used waterway.

“It’s really important that we keep those who need to travel by train moving reliably and keeping this bridge in the railway position is one proactive measure we can take to do this.

“We’re sorry for any inconvenience this caused and thank people for their patience for any disruption caused.”

Whilst the bridge is expected to reopen to waterway traffic on Friday, this decision will be reviewed in line with forecast temperatures.

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

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